Maxine Waters Is Sick of COVID-19 - OZY | A Modern Media Company

Maxine Waters Is Sick of COVID-19

Maxine Waters Is Sick of COVID-19

By Nick Fouriezos


Because Maxine Waters is one of the most experienced (and colorful) members of Congress

By Nick Fouriezos

U.S. Congresswoman Maxine Waters of California sat down for an enlightening conversation with OZY’s co-founder and CEO on The Carlos Watson Show. Below are some of the highlights, cut for clarity and length. You can find their full conversation on the show’s podcast feed.

Reflecting on COVID

Maxine Waters: I think what I will try to do, which I have not really done very much of, is to express how exasperated I am with COVID-19. And while everyone’s experiencing inconvenience, the difficulty of living with it is not something that one can get comfortable with — wearing the mask, and again … to not being able to be with family and friends, and not being able to go to the restaurants now. In Los Angeles, they just closed down the outdoor restaurants. So now we can’t go in and we can’t go out, and we have a curfew. They want you off the street by 10 and on and on and on.

And so personally, I am feeling extraordinarily uncomfortable and unhappy with the inconvenience of COVID, and frightened as I watch people dying and knowing that I, and all of us, could die. Particularly those of us who are mature and are older age. We’re very, very susceptible to the virus. And God forbid people with preexisting conditions, because it seems as if the virus goes right to the preexisting condition, and people are dying and the numbers are frightening.

The most interesting thing about the powers of Trump is how long it took [Republicans] to become believers [in the dangers of COVID]. And when he discouraged wearing masks and talked about it really was not as serious, it was kind of like the flu, and that you could basically cure it with disinfectants and all of that, there were people who absolutely believed him. And many of them did not get into the habits of trying to protect
themselves and their families for much too long, much too long. And it is just now that we have most of the members of Congress all wearing the mask, but there were many of them, on the opposite side of the aisle for sure, that didn’t put on a mask for a long time.

What you can’t figure out, what you can’t understand, is why? Do they believe the president? They believe in him so deeply and so profoundly that they will follow him until they are so in danger that they have to change their ways?

On representing a diverse district

MW: We don’t just campaign at campaign time. My life is campaign. This is what I do. On the weekends, I’m in the district. I’m in the churches. I meet with people. I organize. And so I have a great supportive district, even though it is diverse. And I’m very pleased about that. My district now is about 20 percent to 23 percent African American, majority Latinx. The rest of it is divided between Caucasian and Asian.

And so when I first started in this district, it was not easy, but I have come to not only know the district very well and understand the people in all areas of my district, they’ve gained a lot of respect for me and the fact that I am concerned about their issues, and that’s the way I work public policy. I know what I need to do for Torrance. I know what I need to do for Inglewood. I know what is needed in Lawndale. And so I don’t do cookie-cutter stuff. I do specialized campaigning and public policy work to deal with the concerns of the people in my district.

What needs to be a key part of resetting America?

MW: Well, if I had my wish, my experiment, it would be to alleviate poverty, period. Alleviate poverty, not only in this country, but in this world. I’ve spent a lot of time in Haiti, and it is absolutely unconscionable the way that Haiti has had to exist right here in this hemisphere. I would want no child to be hungry. I would want no family to be without. I would not want there to be the great gap and distance in wealth. So the elimination of poverty would be my ideal.

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